Will the Real Body of Christ Please Identify? Over. (On “Aliasing”)

Phyllis Nissila

old antennaI am captivated by an event in the technology world called “aliasing”.

According to Wikipedia, aliasing “in signal processing and related disciplines […] refers to an effect that causes different signals to become indistinguishable (or aliases of one another) when sampled. It also refers to the distortion or artifact that results when the signal reconstructed from samples is different from the original continuous signal” [1].

Aliasing tricks the ear and eye to recognize something that is not what the sensors think it is, an audio or optical illusion similar to the false oasis the weary desert traveler might imagine.

The cause of all this buzz and fuzz involves real life math story problems strewn with multiple dimensions, wavelengths, and algebraic formulas, so this is where I exit the tech lecture and enter the world of analogy because it occurs to me that signal aliasing is a lot like spiritual aliasing. What appears to sound and look like, in this case, truth may very well not be.

CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW?

Like aliases in the tech domain, false signals in the spiritual domain fool seekers, too. A bit of distorted doctrine here, some fuzzy interpretation there and over space and time one’s attention gets tricked away from the genuine to a potentially dangerous degree, the precision and accuracy of the Word of God hardly recognizable anymore. This happens for myriad reasons: wrong teaching, hard-heartedness, personal interpretation instead of exegesis, and so on.

In the world of information technology my tech friends tell me aliasing has to do with things like insufficient and inefficient location samples and the limitations imposed by operating in too few dimensions, not to mention the shopping-cartful of location devices that make it hard to zero in on one, reliable source. To obtain a more accurate communication signal location, they tell me it is necessary to increase the number and precision of the locating signals and to think outside the usual dimensions. In a sense, this applies to “spiritual signal perception” aka discernment, too.

WHOSE WORD IS IT?

If we are not grounded in God’s Word it is easy to be waylaid by (pseudo) intellectualism, (false) experientialism, and/or plain old heresy, i.e., spin, seduction, and deception—what constitutes aliasing in the spiritual realm.

False teachers, whether through lack of accurate and precise knowledge (via studying God’s Word and “showing themselves approved” [2]) or on purpose for money or power, can easily distort the truth. But whether by lies or by allure people lead us off track believers are not without remedy—and protection.

The solution to aliases in the spiritual domain comes by “increasing the number and precision” of, you might say, “Gospel signals.”

Like the Bereans referenced above, we can achieve discernment by studying daily the Word of God that, like the metaphorical “two-edged sword” is precise to the point of “dividing asunder…soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12).

And when we understand the genuine, it is much easier to identify the false.

We also have a solution “outside the usual dimensions.”

TRACKING FROM THE THRONE ROOM

Just as technologists are developing devices for tracking signals from outside the dimensions in use now, believers have a Divine “tracking source,” if you will, Who teaches and guides us: the Holy Spirit.

If we yield to this Helper and Guide available to us 24/7 anywhere on the figurative—and literal—map, we are kept in alignment with truth.

And when we by virtue of immaturity, (wrong) information, or influence lose our “spiritual signal” or confuse it with another, the Holy Spirit can also re-direct us if we ask. Consider: “ (The) Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in (Jesus’) name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that (Jesus) said to you” (John 14:26).

This is the same Spirit that dwells in the Body of Christ today.

WE CAN HEAR HIM NOW

Just as in the physical plane it takes the commitment of those of like mind to achieve the precision a task might require it also takes work in the spiritual realm to discern what is accurate and what is not and fellowshipping with those of like mind and heart to stay alert and focused.

But unlike my smart tech friends who not only understand all the real-life math story problems–but even invent new ones–and who solve high-level technical problems like signal aliasing, even the humblest member of the Body of Christ can discern God’s “information,” His ways, His wisdom, and His guidance even here, even now. How? Consider:

“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge…” (Proverbs 1).

And that’s just one of 66 books of like content found in an anthology called The Bible: the believer’s operating manual.

Just another good book that looks and sounds like all the others?

Tune in and see.

***

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliasing

See also  http://redwood.berkeley.edu/bruno/npb261/aliasing.pdf

[2] Acts 17:11

Image from the public domain.

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